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Bridge project work stalled

Kolaghat, Dec. 18: Over 250 workers of a private engineering firm hired to construct two bridges on NH6 in Kolaghat stayed away from work today after Trinamul toughs allegedly threatened to beat them up yesterday if party loyalists were not employed.

Around 25 of the 250 workers of Arvind Techno Engineering Pvt Ltd, which has been given the contract by the National Highways Authority of India, came to the site today but left after a few minutes.

A worker said Trinamul activists had last night threatened to throw him into the Rupnarayan, on which the two bridges are being built. “How can I work if my life is under threat?” he said.

Basuki Banerjee, the officer in charge of Kolaghat police station, said: “We have set up pickets at the construction site but the majority of the workers didn’t turn up.’’

The firm had last night filed police complaints alleging that Trinamul workers forced it to stop work on the instructions of Panskura (West) MLA Biplab Roy Chowdhury.

Roy Chowdhury denied the allegation. “The workers told us the company was paying them less than the amount promised. Our men went there to protest this. They never intimidated the workers.”

Senior project manager Jay Shankar Singh feared the company would miss deadlines. He said the two bridges to ease traffic on NH6, which links Calcutta to Mumbai, would have to be completed by March 2013 and March 2014.

He said it was not possible to recruit those recommended by Trinamul as the project needed technical hands.